The original Wolfenstein is an important landmark in gaming history, and WOLFENSTEIN #1 reflects that. As the first first-person shooter ever made, it paved the way for one of gaming’s most popular genres. In 2014, Bethesda Softworks published a modern incarnation of the original Wolfenstein. Wolfenstein: The New Order is one of the most compelling and well-polished single-player shooters to come out in a long time. Aside from the adrenaline pumping gameplay, the tone of the story was perfect. It took the original game’s premise — Nazis winning WWII and decades pass under their fascist rule of the world — and ran with it. It was the perfect mixture of serious and ridiculous that made you feel like a badass for destroying the Fourth Reich almost single-handedly.

In preparation for the sequel, Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus, Titan Comics published a comic to bridge the gap. Simply titled WOLFENSTEIN #1, this comic shows what’s happening in America after the events of the first game. Written by Dan Watters and illustrated by Piotr Kowalski and Ronilson Freire, WOLFENSTEIN #1 is a fantastic adaptation of the games. It takes itself just seriously enough to draw you in but is still over-the-top enough at the right moments to keep it fun and exciting.

The Resistance Continues

At the end of The New Order, BJ Blazkowicz — the protagonist and Nazi-killing death machine — had defeated General Deathshead, but seemingly sacrificed himself in the process. As the Nazis celebrate the death of “Terror Billy,” the resistance begins to make their move. Their plan: to start the Second American Revolution. Also, BJ is still alive somehow, but I doubt anyone believed he actually died at the end of the first game.

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WOLFENSTEIN #1 begins with a suitably melodramatic narration about the fall of America into Nazi occupation. These images of Nazis invading contrasts with the idyllic scene of a new town being built in the wilderness. We’re introduced to Sanctuary and its leader, the Professor. As a haven for refugees, Sanctuary exists on a razor’s edge in Nazi-occupied America. Especially considering the location of the town is on top of something powerful and evil that the Nazis want to get their hands on.

Image courtesy of Titan Comics.

Elsewhere, a Nazi submarine is exploring the depths of the sea, discovering an ancient and eldritch city of the lost Thulian race. I appreciate the nod to Lovecraftian horror. Considering how BJ went to a Nazi moon base in Wolfenstein: The New Order, and also fought ghosts as well as monsters in the standalone prequel Wolfenstein: The Old Blood, fighting Lovecraftian entities is the next logical step. Clearly.

BJ is Back Baby

Lastly, we get the return of our taciturn superman BJ Blazkowicz and his cadre of resistance fighters. The comic doesn’t explain how BJ survived the explosion at the end of The New Order, but the timing of his appearance at the end and the fact that Wolfenstein 2 will likely explain it quickly in the game, I’m not annoyed at all. I’m just happy to have my big Nazi killer back in action. I also appreciate how the writers allude to the fact that BJ never learned more than a few German words after all this time. Although, he is the master of “tactical silence,” if you get what he means. It’s killing Nazis. He’s really really good at killing Nazis.

Courtesy of Titan Comics.

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On a more serious note, it’s actually pretty impressive how they write BJ in this issue. As a character, there isn’t much to him. Much like Doomguy, his personality is basically “angry shoot man” but since The New Order, they’ve added some nuance to him. There’s not too much to get into about his characterization in the comic, but his monosyllabic dialogue contrasts really well with the flowery narration in the beginning. If I remember correctly, BJ is also the narrator in the games as well. It shows some hidden depth to the character who vocally communicates with grunts and short sentences.

A Surprisingly Vibrant Aesthetic

I personally love the aesthetic of Wolfenstein: The New Order. Its retro-futuristic look supports the story very well, helping it maintain that balance between serious and silly. Furthermore, it looks believable. For example, the Nazi soldier designs don’t look too basic or too futuristic. To put it simply, they look like Nazis that have maintained their rule for 20 years.

Image courtesy of Titan Comics

WOLFENSTEIN #1 adds an unexpected blast of color to the formula. The sunken city of the Thulians, raised to the surface by power-hungry Nazi officers, is a contrasting swirl of colors. Normally the color palette is on the grayer, more realistic side. Yet, the coral-based colors of the eldritch city purposely look out of place. Of course, the old god-induced dream of a certain officer was brilliantly illustrated as well. Eldritch dreams usually are.

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Final Thoughts on WOLFENSTEIN #1

As a big fan of Wolfenstein: The New Order, I was ecstatic to read this comic. It gives you a taste of things to come in the new game but doesn’t overstay its welcome. It’s not a perfect stand-alone issue, but viewing it in the context as a supplement for the two modern Wolfenstein games, it ends up working very well. Even if you haven’t played The New Order, WOLFENSTEIN #1 is still a compelling narrative. Anything you need to know is in the summary at the beginning of the comic, so check it out if you wanna see some Nazis get what’s coming to them.

WOLFENSTEIN #1 by Dan Watters, Piotr Kowalski, and Ronilson Freire
WOLFENSTEIN #1 perfectly channels the style of Wolfenstein: The New Order and accomplishes its job of hyping you up for the upcoming sequel!
88 %
A fantastic supplement for the new Wolfenstein game
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